Photo of fresh carrots
Adding carrots to your daily diet can help fight heart disease [Image: Kander - Wikimedia Commons]

Eat more carrots to protect against heart disease

24 November, 2011

Natural Health News — New research published in the British Journal of Nutrition has shown that a higher intake of deep orange fruit and vegetables, especially carrots, may protect against coronary heart disease.

The colour of a fruit or vegetable isn’t just appealing to the eye. It indicates the presence of specific micronutrients and phytochemicals that are beneficial to health.

Researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands examined the associations between fruit and vegetables belonging to different colour groups – green, orange/yellow, red/purple, white fruit – and incidence of coronary heart disease.

The 20,000 men and women who took part were free of heart disease at the beginning of the study and after 10 years there were 245 cases of coronary heart disease.

No single colour group showed any real advantage over the others, but within colour groups certain foods did stand out. For instance, for each 25 grams per day increase in the intake of deep orange fruit and vegetables there was a decrease in heart disease risk of around 26%. But with carrots, one of the most commonly consumed vegetables in this group, each 25 grams per day increase in consumption was associated with a 32% lower risk of CHD.

A 25 gram serving of carrot is the equivalent of two baby carrots or half an average carrot so incorporating this amount into your diet is easy.

Carrots are a very good source of both antioxidant alpha and beta carotene, which are converted in the body to retinol (vitamin A), good for skin, lungs, immune system and heart health. They also contain antioxidant  lutein, vital for eye health. Carrots are also a natural sources of vitamins K and C and B6, B1 and B2, calcium and potassium as well as beneficial dietary fibre, essential for a healthy gut.